Alder wrote an article in which he argued that technological modification of wines helps winemakers stay on their vineyards, and benefits the wine industry in France (especially Bordeaux). While I am not an authority on wine economics, I think his overall argument is marred by a fundamental difference of opinion when it comes to quality and purity. Whether I think the application of modern winemaking techniques helps winemakers is an issue that I don't know enough to address, and consequently leave the matter to others.
Without further ado...
It seems odd for Alder to assert that wine quality is necessarily reflected in higher sales. Is supermarket plonk wine good because it sells so well? It's not true of any other food product: Kraft cheese slices versus Hook's 12 year cheddar, cheese whiz versus a veritable brie. So why does he think it's true of wine? Greater sales may result because a product is of higher quality, but that is certainly not true a priori.
I've tended to agree with Karen MacNeil when she writes, "One of the most insidious myths in American wine culture is that a wine is good if you like it. Liking a wine has nothing to do with whether it is good. Liking a wine has to do with liking wine, period."
I agree that wine makers, like all kinds of farmers, need support to be able to stay on the land. While I agree that wine makers should be allowed to make wines that people like more, that doesn't necessarily make them better wines. The wines may or may not be better, but there is no logical relationship between like-ability and quality.
As for technology in wine making, I think the anti-technology camp is similar to the aversion that many serious beer drinkers and home brewers have to flavorings and adjuncts. If I were brewing a coffee stout for example, I would want to use grains that have been roasted to an appropriate extent to generate the correct Maillard flavors. This practice is better than throwing some coffee beans into the brew kettle and adding the flavor that way (although many good caffeinated beers are made that way). Indeed, I think one of the real pleasures of many beers is the fact that their flavors come from very simple sources: barley, hops, yeast, and water (e.g. the banana flavor of a hefeweizen from the yeast and fermentation conditions). In a blind taste test, I might not be able to tell the difference. But if I knew how they were both made, it's pretty clear to me which one I'd choose.
And it's the same with wine.
A wine that has been "manipulated" in one way or another may not be evident upon taste. But I think many of us would agree that we'd rather drink the wine that hasn't been oaked to mask certain flavors, chaptalized to cover-up a yield that's too large, etc. These techniques have their uses, but they can be used for good just as much as for evil.
To take this to the absurd extreme, imagine if flavor companies became interested in manufacturing the molecules that make up wine flavor. These chemicals could then be mixed with water and ethanol, and voila! Wine! Consistent replication of the finest Bordeaux and Barolo vintages with no chance of off-flavors, spoilage, or corking! Even if the products couldn't be differentiated from the original wines by a mass spectrometer, I wouldn't drink them.